5 May – 3 August 2023
4-13 August 2023
13 July - 6 August 2023
Join us on

Nicolai Pfeffer

Nicolai Pfeffer, Clarinet (Germany/Switzerland)

A consummate performer and scholar, Nicolai Pfeffer is hailed by the press for his „strong dynamic contrasts, rich colors, sensitivity, and passion“ (NZZ). „The clarinet poet“ (La repubblica) is recognized as a sought-after soloist, chamber musician, and educator of the younger generation.

Pfeffer completed his artistic studies at the University of Music and Dance Cologne under the guidance of Ralph Manno, earning his Master's degree with distinction in solo and chamber music in 2011. He completed his postgraduate studies under Professor Howard Klug and Alfred Prinz at Indiana University Bloomington in Indiana (USA). During his studies, Mr. Pfeffer drew great inspiration from his masterclass experiences with Sabine Meyer (Lübeck), Sharon Kam (Hanover), Anthony Spiri (Cologne), Karl Leister (Berlin), Alfred Prinz ( Vienna), and Sir Alan Hacker (London).

As a soloist and passionate chamber musician, Nicolai Pfeffer has established himself as a stylistically confident and virtuosic clarinetist. He made his debut as a soloist with the Orchestra of La Scala Milan, conducted by Maestro Fabio Luisi, performing Rossini's Clarinet Concerto in 2018. Furthermore, he has collaborated with conductors like Markus Stenz, Jonathan Webb, Mario Venzago, Daniel Spaw and Grigori Palikarov, presenting central works of the solo clarinet repertoire. Pfeffer has performed in major prestigious concert halls in Germany and at renowned festivals in Europe, the United States, South America, and the Middle East. He has performed with notable pianists, violinists, cellists, and vocalists, and has appeared as a guest solo clarinetist with various orchestras, including the Cologne Opera, the German Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, the Athens State Symphony Orchestra, and the Bamberger Symphoniker and other orchestras. His performances have been recorded for various important radio and television broadcasts across Europe.

Rounding off his wide-ranging activities , Pfeffer's debut CD featured works by Robert Schumann, Max Reger, and Alban Berg. A highly-acclaimed recording of the two Clarinet Sonatas of Op. 120 by Johannes Brahms (CAvI Music) received unanimous praise from music critics throughout Europe since its release. In 2021, he published a CD recording of Mozart's Clarinet Concerto with Markus Stenz and the Orchestra della Toscana from Florence (Novantiqua), as well as a recording of Johann Stamitz's Clarinet Concerto with conductor Ektoras Tartanis and his ARGO Ensemble on historical instruments. His most recent recording project, together with the Orchestra della Toscana and Markus Stenz (Novantiqua), features his own orchestrations of Italian opera fantasies and central clarinet works by Carl Maria von Weber.

The same passion and expertise that drives Mr. Pfeffer’s performances also inspires his musicological research and teaching activities: Nicolai Pfeffer is highly involved in the development of new scholarly editions for clarinet chamber music and solo literature. The fruits of these labours are manifested in critical editions published by G. Henle Verlag, Breitkopf & Härtel, Bärenreiter, and Edition Peters, which have collectively received high praise from experts for their exemplary textual criticism.
He has been teaching clarinet and music pedagogy as a lecturer at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Cologne since 2013. He also taught clarinet pedagogy and methodology at the Hochschule für Musik, Theater und und Medien Hannover, as well as at the Hochschule für Künste Bremen. Pfeffer is actively involved in promoting and nurturing musically gifted children and adolescents through his work at Pre-College Cologne (HfMT Cologne). Starting from the winter semester of 2022/23, Pfeffer will serve as clarinet professor at the Talent Music University of Music in Brescia, Italy. From the winter semester of 2023/24, he will assume the position of visiting professor for clarinet at the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK).